Millions of people in the US are believed to suffer from food allergies. Around 1 out of 13 children is allergic to one or more foods, and although often overlooked, it is not uncommon for seniors to develop new-onset food allergies. The most common foods that cause allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, cow’s milk, chicken eggs, wheat, and soy. However, any food can cause an allergy, and often people with allergies develop several of them or become cross-sensitized by one allergy, such as the fairly common syndrome where someone with a ragweed allergy also becomes allergic to melons and cucumbers. Here at Asthma Allergy Centre, we encourage you to learn more about the benefits of food allergy desensitization.
Before the development of food allergy desensitization, the only treatment was strict avoidance of the food trigger. In many cases, this tactic is very difficult to carry out successfully; for example, products derived from wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, and milk are added to a huge variety of foods, which means allergic individuals have to turn into obsessive food-label readers and refuse to consume any unlabeled foods, such as those commonly served at social events. In addition to causing unpleasant symptoms like hives, digestive upset, itching, and facial swelling, severe food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions; most severely allergic individuals need to carry around epipens in case they have a severe reaction.
Due to the many problems with the avoidance approach, a new approach called allergy desensitization is now being used. In this approach, essentially the immune system is retrained to regard the food as good rather than as the enemy. The allergy desensitization procedure enlists this normal process to re-educate the immune system to stop reacting against particular foods.
The procedure is really quite straightforward. Every day, the patient consumes a tiny amount of the allergen mixed in with other foods. At first, the amount is incredibly tiny, and then it is gradually increased over time, with the rate of increase guided by the patient’s tolerance of the food. Obviously, especially for severely allergic individuals, the procedure needs to be conducted under strict medical supervision to avoid severe reactions.
The prime benefit is that persons afflicted by food allergies can stop worrying and stop being obsessive food label readers/food rejectors. A majority of treated patients will no longer react to accidental ingestion of their food trigger. Thus, after treatment they can attend a party and actually consume the home-made dip without worrying if they are going to experience a reaction, or send their treated child off to school without worrying about what foods the child might be accidentally exposed to.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
Isn’t piece of mind worth it? If you, your child, or another family member is troubled by a food allergy, we encourage you to reach out and make an appointment with Asthma Allergy Centre. At our convenient locations in Tigard, Beaverton, McMinnville, and Newberg, our caring and dedicated team of professionals will be pleased to explain this option to you in full and answer any questions you may have about food allergy desensitization. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!